In the small hours of this morning, Conservative Trudy Harrison, was duly elected as the new Member of Parliament for Copleland in West Cumbria, the first Tory to do so in over 80 years. The gain was also a first for a governing party in a by-election since the 1980s. The seat, held by Jamie Reed for 12 years until he resigned at the tail end of last year, is primarily made up of working class industrial voters but also contains a lot of the Tory friendly Lake District.
The Conservatives threw the kitchen sink at this by-election and Trudy, not wanting to pass up on an opportunity to see the seat ignored once again by Labour was selected by the Party in January and has fought a head on campaign since. Hundreds of activists and MPs including the Prime Minister flooded the doorsteps in order to show Labour they can’t take their so called ‘heartlands’ for granted. Apathy was noticeable on the doorstep, if you spoke to anyone in Copeland, they made it clear they felt forgotten and disconnected, and thats why to me, a local boy, electing Trudy Harrison was the right decision.
Trudy was born, lives and works in Copeland. Her children were all born in the local hospital and her husband works at Sellafield, the local nuclear site employing thousands, she is a proper Cumbrian lass as we call it. Her experience is based on regeneration. She saved her local primary school in Bootle and now chairs the governors. She worked for the council managing big budgets making sure the money was handled properly and that the local people she served in her role had their cash well spent. She herself even worked at Sellafield, and fully supports the new build at Moorside which will bring thousands more jobs in to Copeland.
Trudy has promised a six point plan ensuring new infrastructure, roads and public transport will work for what Copeland needs and before she was even elected was already working with fellow Cumbrian MP, John Stevenson to ensure the main road through Cumbria, the A595, gets the necessary upgrades that the Labour run council have ignored for so long. Trudy Harrison was also speaking to the team of Health ministers in order to save services at the local West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven. She opposes the success regime and demands a new report on healthcare in West Cumbria and refused to engage with the horrid scaremongering by the local Labour party over health services at West Cumberland Hospital.
But to summarise, I do think Trudy is going to be the best voice for Copeland. Her local roots, her experience and her plan for the area are all second to none. She ran a brilliant campaign and I’m sure will be a fantastic Member of Parliament over the coming years. My best wishes to her as she embarks on this adventure!
Final Copeland by-election results from 23rd February 2017, based on 51% turn-out are as follows:
Trudy Harrison (Conservative) 13,748 (+8.5)
Gillian Troughton (Labour) 11,601 (-4.9)
Rebecca Hanson (Liberal Democrat) 2,252 (+3.8)
Fiona Mills (UKIP) 2,025 (-9.0)
Michael Guest (Ind.) 811 (+2.6)
Jack Lenox (Green) 515 (-1.3)
Roy Ivenson (Ind.) 116 (+0.4)